[116th Congress Public Law 125]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

[[Page 134 STAT. 171]]

Public Law 116-125
116th Congress

                                 An Act

To award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the United States 
Merchant Mariners of World War II, in recognition of their dedicated and 
   vital service during World War II. <<NOTE: Mar. 13, 2020 -  [H.R. 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Merchant 
Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2020. 31 USC 
5111 note.>> 

    This Act may be cited as the ``Merchant Mariners of World War II 
Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2020''.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of Allied victory in 
        World War II.
            (2) The United States Merchant Marine (in this section 
        referred to as the ``Merchant Marine'') was integral in 
        providing the link between domestic production and the fighting 
        forces overseas, providing combat equipment, fuel, food, 
        commodities, and raw materials to troops stationed abroad.
            (3) Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King acknowledged the 
        indispensability of the Merchant Marine to the victory in a 1945 
        letter stating that, without the support of the Merchant Marine, 
        ``the Navy could not have accomplished its mission''.
            (4) President, and former Supreme Commander of the Allied 
        Expeditionary Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower acknowledged that 
        ``through the prompt delivery of supplies and equipment to our 
        armed forces overseas, and of cargoes representing economic and 
        military aid to friendly nations, the American Merchant Marine 
        has effectively helped to strengthen the forces of freedom 
        throughout the world''.
            (5) Military missions and war planning were contingent upon 
        the availability of resources and the Merchant Marine played a 
        vital role in this regard, ensuring the efficient and reliable 
        transoceanic transport of military equipment and both military 
        and civilian personnel.
            (6) The Merchant Marine provided for the successful 
        transport of resources and personnel despite consistent and 
        ongoing exposure to enemy combatants from both the air and the 
        sea, including from enemy bomber squadrons, submarines, and 
        naval mines.
            (7) The efforts of the Merchant Marine were not without 
        sacrifices as the Merchant Marine likely bore a higher per-
        capita casualty rate than any of the military branches during 
        the war.

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            (8) The Merchant Marine proved to be an instrumental asset 
        on an untold number of occasions, participating in every landing 
        operation by the United States Marine Corps, from Guadalcanal to 
            (9) The Merchant Marine provided the bulk tonnage of 
        material necessary for the invasion of Normandy, an invasion 
        which, according to a 1944 New York Times article, ``would not 
        have been possible without the Merchant Marine''.
            (10) In assessing the performance of the Merchant Marine, 
        General Eisenhower stated, ``every man in this Allied command is 
        quick to express his admiration for the loyalty, courage, and 
        fortitude of the officers and men of the Merchant Marine. We 
        count upon their efficiency and their utter devotion to duty as 
        we do our own; they have never failed us''.
            (11) During a September 1944 speech, President Franklin D. 
        Roosevelt stated that the Merchant Marine had ``delivered the 
        goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and 
        across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult, and 
        dangerous transportation job ever undertaken. As time goes on, 
        there will be greater public understanding of our merchant 
        fleet's record during this war''.
            (12) The feats and accomplishments of the Merchant Marine 
        are deserving of broader public recognition.
            (13) The United States will be forever grateful and indebted 
        to these merchant mariners for their effective, reliable, and 
        courageous transport of goods and resources in enemy territory 
        throughout theaters of every variety in World War II.
            (14) The goods and resources transported by the Merchant 
        Marine saved thousands of lives and enabled the Allied Powers to 
        claim victory in World War II.
            (15) The Congressional Gold Medal would be an appropriate 
        way to shed further light on the service of the merchant 
        mariners in World War II and the instrumental role they played 
        in winning that war.
            (16) Many students of the Merchant Marine Academy lost their 
        lives as they sailed through enemy-controlled waters or unloaded 
        cargo in overseas combat areas, and, as a result, the United 
        States Merchant Marine Academy is the only institution among the 
        five Federal academies to be authorized to carry a battle 
        standard as part of its color guard.

    (a) Award Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of Representatives 
and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate 
arrangements for the award, on behalf of Congress, of a single gold 
medal of appropriate design to the United States merchant mariners of 
World War II, in recognition of their dedicated and vital service during 
World War II.
    (b) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Design and Striking.--For the purposes 
of the award described in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury 
(in this Act referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall strike the gold 
medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined 
by the Secretary.

    (c) American Merchant Marine Museum.--
            (1) In general.--Following the award of the gold medal under 
        subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to the

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        American Merchant Marine Museum, where it will be available for 
        display as appropriate and available for research.
            (2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that the 
        American Merchant Marine Museum should make the gold medal given 
        to the Museum under paragraph (1) available for display 
        elsewhere, particularly at appropriate locations associated with 
        the United States Merchant Marine and that preference should be 
        given to locations affiliated with the United States Merchant 

    Under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, the Secretary 
may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck under 
section 3, at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the medals, 
including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead 

    (a) National Medals.--Medals struck under this Act are national 
medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
    (b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31, 
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered 
to be numismatic items.

    Approved March 13, 2020.


            Jan. 27, considered and passed House.
            Mar. 2, considered and passed Senate.